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What is the Connection Between Ovarian Cysts and Infertility?

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  • Written By: Sarah Sullins
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2016
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Ovarian cysts and infertility may be connected, depending on the type of cyst involved. Polycystic ovaries are ovaries that have developed many small cysts, and those cysts can interfere with a woman's fertility. Endometriomas also can thwart attempts to get pregnant. Other types of ovarian cysts usually don't cause infertility, though surgery performed to remove a cyst may ultimately affect fertility.

An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac in an ovary. Different cysts come in different sizes, and the fluid in them can range from thick to thin, depending on the type of cyst. Many cysts that occur in the ovaries are normal, cause no symptoms, and are not discovered until an ultrasound is done for some other medical reason.

Endometrioma cysts are the result of a condition known as endometriosis. This condition happens when the lining of the uterus grows on the outside of the uterus. This type of cyst usually does not affect the quality or quantity of a woman's eggs but can still result in infertility by interfering with the process of ovulation. These cysts are often called chocolate cysts because they are filled with dark blood.

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Let a woman develop a lot of small ovarian cysts and infertility can occur. This problem is known as polycystic ovary syndrome. Women who have this condition usually will have irregular menstrual cycles. Higher hormone levels can also be found in many women with this condition. Infertility does not occur in all women who have this problem.

The most common cyst that occurs on the ovaries is called a functional cyst. These ovarian cysts and infertility are not connected. Most functional cysts go away by themselves and do not require any treatment. Other cysts, such as cystadenoma and dermoid cysts, do not affect a woman’s fertility.

Many cysts do not show any symptoms until they grow large enough to cause a problem or they rupture. Pain in the pelvic region is the most common symptom. The amount of pain will depend on how big the cyst is or was and what kind.

Doctors sometimes recommend that a woman have surgery to try to get rid of ovarian cysts and infertility at the same time. Laparoscopic surgery to remove the cysts may help to restore normal function to a woman’s ovaries. As with every surgery, there are risks. Scarring can lead to a loss of tubal function. An overzealous doctor may remove the entire ovary when it is not necessary, harming the way the ovaries work and reducing pregnancy chances.

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burcinc
Post 3

@ZipLine-- You are right about some women having to have their ovaries removed along with an ovarian cyst. But if that's a possibility, don't doctors offer harvesting of eggs if the woman wants children in the near future?

I think they should be able to do that as long as the rest of the reproductive system is healthy and functioning.

Does anyone know more about this topic?

ZipLine
Post 2

@turquoise-- You need to ask your doctor this. No one else will be able to give you accurate information or advice about your specific situation.

I think that all ovarian cysts have the potential to cause infertility. A dermoid ovarian cyst is usually said to be harmless. But if it becomes extremely large, becomes infected or ruptures, it can definitely cause infertility.

The ovarian cyst treatment is important too. Some women end up having an ovary or both removed because of the side effects of the cyst. Having ovaries removed naturally causes decreased fertility or complete infertility.

My sister had an ovarian cyst removed, but they removed an ovary along with it. She still has her other ovary, so she can technically get pregnant, but it's not as likely as before.

turquoise
Post 1

I have a dermoid ovarian cyst. Will it affect my fertility?

I'm trying to get pregnant and I was just diagnosed with a dermoid ovarian cyst. My doctor doesn't seem very worried, he didn't recommend any treatment.

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